Getting a visa to Russia is not a piece of cake. There are documents you need to gather and a strict process you need to follow. Yet, it is not as hard as it may seem, when you have the right information. Once you start the Russian Visa application process, you will notice that it is not harder than getting a visa to i.e. Europe.
If you are wondering how to get a Russian visa, following in this article you may find all the procedures.
Russian Visa Application
To apply for Russian Visa you should follow these simple steps:
Get the Invitation to Russia (Russian Visa Support)
Start your Russia visa application by getting the invitation to travel to Russia. The invitation is the basement of your Russian visa application. It is also known as the visa support document. The type of invitation and its issuer differ according to the purpose of your trip to Russia.
Following find a list of all Russia visa invitation types, with explanations on each:
- Visa support for tourism. This could be any of the following:
- Letter from the tour company or cruise line. If you are traveling to Russia for tourism with a tour company or cruise line, you should obtain this letter from them. The letter must confirm the itinerary and include a copy of the confirmation from an authorized Russian travel company. It must show the reference number and confirmation number for the visa.
- Confirmation of hotel arrangements. Contact your travel company or the Russian hotel where you will be staying. They will issue you a confirmation of hotel arrangements that serves as visa support. The document must show the reference number and confirmation number for the visa.
- Visa Support for a private visit. This could be any of the following:
- An invitation from the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation. Your Russian host should get this kind of invitation at the ministry in Russia.
- An inviting letter of a Russian citizen to enter Russia with their non-Russian family members. If you are traveling to Russia with a Russian family member, then the relative of yours should take care of the letter of invitation. He or she should direct the letter to the Ambassador of Russia in your home country.
- Visa Support for students. This could be any of the following:
- An invitation from the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation. Your Russian university should take care to obtain this invitation from the Ministry.
- A telex invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Your Russian university should request this letter at the Ministry. The ministry will then pass the invitation to the Russian embassy in your home country.
- A copy of a direct inviting letter of your Russian university. This kind of invitation is valid for short-term study only, without prolongation. The Rector of the university or the Head of the International Department should stamp and sign the letter.
- Visa Support for humanitarian visits. This could be any of the following:
- An invitation from the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation. Your Russian host is in charge of obtaining this letter from the Ministry. He or she should then pass to you the original or scanned version of the letter.
- An invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Your Russian host should request this type of invitation at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry will then pass the invitation to the embassy in your country.
- Visa Support for business visits. This could be any of the following:
- An invitation from the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation. You should ask your Russian business partner for this kind of invitation.
- An invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Your Russian business partner should request this type of invitation at the Ministry. The ministry will then pass the invitation to the embassy in your country.
- An inviting letter from an organization based in Russia. The organization in Russia will issue this letter to you. The requirement is valid only for countries that signed visa facilitation agreements with Russia.
- Visa invitation for employment. The Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation is responsible for issuing this visa to your Russian employer. The employer should then send the invitation to you in an original format, in either paper or electronic form.
- The invitation issued by a company in Russia for EU nationals. EU travelers applying for a Russia business visa should obtain this letter. The letter must contain the Individual Tax Number according to the Russia-EU Agreement on 25.05.2006.
Complete the Russian Visa online application form
After getting your Russian visa support, you can proceed with the other steps. The next step is completing the online Russian visa application form. It is available at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) website visa.kdmid.ru. The application form contains several questions on you and your trip.
Follow the tips given below to complete the Russian visa online application form:
- Go to visa.kdmid.ru
- Select the name of the country from the drop menu titled “Country“, from where you intend to apply for a Russia visa.
- Choose your hints and help language from the drop menu titled “Hints and help language“.
- Press “Complete new application” to proceed. If you want to continue completing an application that you have started previously press: “Open previously completed application”. Press the same button for editing, viewing or printing of a previously completed application.
- Save the number of the application form, which you can see at the top right-hand corner. You will need this number to continue the application completion if your session times out. In order to save a draft of your application, use the “Save draft” option.
- Each page has clear instructions on the application. Pay attention to them.
- Fields marked with a “*” symbol are compulsory.
- Print your visa application form.
- Stick a passport size photograph with glue on the form. The photo must be no older than 6 months; date and sign the form into the application.
Collect the Russian Visa required documents
Continue the Russia visa application by collecting the required documents for a Russian visa. The standard documents required for every visa are:
- Printed application form.
- Your valid passport.
- A recent Russian visa photo. Glued to the application form.
- Proof of residence. If you are applying from a country where you have been residing for at least 90 days, which is not your home country.
- Bank statements for the last three months.
- Visa support (Invitation). As explained above in this article.
- Health Insurance. Required only from the citizens of the EU countries, Iran, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, and Switzerland.
You will also need to submit additional documents according to the purpose of your trip. Note that according to your nationality, you may have to submit extra documents as well.
Apply in Person at Russian Consulate/Russian Visa Processing Center
You will need to submit the required documents at the Russian consulate or the visa center representing Russia for visa admission. If you will be submitting your application at the Consular section of the Russian Embassy, you should make a prior appointment. On the other hand, application centers accept walk-in applications. So, an appointment is not compulsory.
Most of the applicants are not required to attend an interview. Still, if the embassy estimates it is necessary, you may be invited for an interview upon the submission of your application.
Pay the Russian visa fee
You will need to pay the fee for your visa at the consular sections. Most of the embassies accept only payments by bank cards. However, some others accept cash as well. You should check for this with the Russian embassy in your home country.
Note that the fees are non-refundable. You can check here for the Russian visa costs!
Collect your Russian visa
You will get a notification on your case after the Russian embassy takes a decision on your application. If they grant you a visa, there will be a visa sticker in your passport. The sticker contains information on you, your visa, the period of permitted stay and the inviter.
Get the Russian immigration card
With the visa sticker in your passport, you can freely travel to Russia. Still, there remain some procedures you need to complete.
Upon arrival at the Russian port of entry, the border police will issue you an immigration card. The card consists of two identical parts, both of which you need to fill in. The border police keep one part of the card. You should take the other one with you. Later, you will need to return this card to the border police, when you leave.
Register your Russian visa
If you will be staying in Russia for 7 days or more, you will need to register your visa. You have 7 working days to register your visa, upon arrival in Russia. There are two ways to register a visa:
- Through the hotel where you are staying. If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel itself will register your visa.
- Through the owner of a private house. If you are staying at a private house, then the Russian host is the one required to register you at a police station or at the post office. Your host will need a copy of the first page of the passport, the visa, and the immigration card to do so.
Note that you may have to pay a small fee for this procedure.